Memories are something wholly unique; they are internal images of past experiences and emotions that have shaped our character and our view of the world. Imagine, for a minute, that your memories did not always have to be your own, but that they have been turned into a product, a bit of a data that can be shared between users at will, or passed on to loved ones after death. Now imagine that someone else was in control of your memories, someone with the ability to take them away from you or even alter them completely to change who you are. This is the world of ‘Remember Me’, where every person is equipped with an internal device known as Sensen, a personal hard-drive of sorts created by the Memorize corporation.
You assume the role of Nilin, a memory hunter who has recently had her own memories stolen from her. After being contacted by the mysterious revolutionary Edge, Nilin barely escapes a memory prison controlled by Memorize, and sets off to find her lost memories in the city of Neo-Paris. Of course, Nilin’s journey is complicated, and as she begins to uncover secret horrors that Memorize is responsible for, she becomes wrapped up in a plot to take down the company for good.
The story of ‘Remember Me’ is very strong and often quite thought-provoking as it consistently deals with the theme of memory and the fallibility of memories. Nilin is an intriguing character who generally acts in a very human manner. She knows that Memorize has done some horrible things, the least of which is the stealing of memories, and remains determined to find the answers she is looking for. But with her own memory gone, she often questions the motivations of herself and others she has sworn to help. For the most part, the story is straight-forward, though there are some interesting plot twists along the way leading up to a satisfying conclusion.
The story takes Nilin to several locations across the city of Neo-Paris, and Dontnod Entertainment has done an excellent job at creating a believable world and populated areas of the city feel alive. The environments are varied and well-crafted, but the game suffers from being far too linear. With such excellent environmental design, it would have been nice to have the ability to explore rather than be stuck with only one path to travel. Even the “hidden” collectibles tend to be placed right out in the open with only a few of them requiring any effort to reach.
Combat in ‘Remember Me’ is fairly basic, using a traditional punch, kick, dodge mechanic that has become so popular in third-person action games. One unique aspect, though, is the ability to create your own combos using unlockable combo-enhancers called Pressens. Each Pressens represents either a punch or a kick, though there are four different types to choose from. Power Pressens cause greater damage, Healing Pressens restore a bit of health each time the hit connects in battle, Focus Pressens help to decrease the cool-down time for your special abilities, and Chains, which allow you to double the effect of certain hits. As you progress through the story, you’ll unlock the ability to create longer combos, and you’ll constantly need to rearrange the attacks in each to create the most effective combo for dealing with the many different enemies you’ll encounter. It definitely has a lot of potential, but even with the bit of strategy the combo system adds, combat tends to get repetitive, especially toward the end of the game. Once I had created a couple of super-effective combos, I found no reason to change them up, and didn’t even end up using the final combo tree at all.
Luckily, Dontnod Entertainment has done a great job at keeping things fresh, offering new gameplay mechanics at regular intervals. One minute your running through slums fighting monsterous enemies called Leapers, only to find yourself platforming your way through collapsing buildings and rooftops while being chased by a fully-armed attack helicopter. There are even some well-done stealth moments and some very clever puzzles scattered throughout as well, not to mention the excellently-designed boss battles.
The highlight of ‘Remember Me’s’ tale, however, lies in the puzzle-like segments in which the player must “remix” a character’s memories in order to aid Nilin’s cause. At first, these memories play out like any other cinematic, providing an interesting look at Nilin’s past while giving players some insight into the motivations of various characters throughout the game. After witnessing a series of events, you are then tasked with completing a specific objective by rewinding and cycling through the memory, searching for interactive glitches that Nilin can alter. Each time Nilin alters a segment of the memory, you can once again watch the cinematic unfold with the changes in place. Move a table, for instance, and the character in the memory may trip rather than walk safely across a room, causing an entirely new outcome. While only one combination of events will lead to success, there is a lot of fun to be had in replaying these sections just to see what other outcomes are possible. You can even score special achievements for doing so. The one downside is that there are only four memory remixes in the whole game.
This is, of course, due to the relatively short length of the campaign. Experienced gamers will have no problem completing the game in 6-8 hours, even on the hardest difficulty setting. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot to do after unless you happened to miss some collectibles along the way.
‘Remember Me’ is something truly unique, offering an excellently-written story complete with superb voice-acting and entertaining gameplay to carry you to the end. Though the combat tends to get repetitive after the first half of the game, the regular introduction of new enemies and other distractions keeps the gameplay from ever feeling tedious. Dontnod Entertainment has created a worthwhile experience, and has done well to establish itself as a company worth watching in the future.
I give ‘Remember Me’: